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"Yeah, that's right! That's right. We bad!"

11

June

Stir_crazy TRUE CONFESSION: You won't read this too often, so enjoy the moment: This particular actor's best work is definitely from outside the 80s.

But I still have a great 80s story about Gene Wilder, who turns 75 years old today. (Well, not a great story, but it'll do.)

After appearing in classic after classic in the 70s (Willy Wonka, Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, Silver Streak), Wilder appeared in just six movies during our beloved 80s. But it was 1980's "Stir Crazy," with his good friend Richard Pryor, that stands out to me:

THE SHAME: It was the first R-rated movie I was kicked out of. (The guilt lingers on.)

THE STORY: My friend Dave Goodfield and I were 13 years old, and bought tickets to "The Empire Strikes Back" with full intention of sneaking into our first R-rated movie. The fun lasted about 20 minutes, when suddenly some pimply-faced usher tagged us with his flashlight and asked for our stubs. Busted.

He led us on the long walk of shame out of the theater in front of a hundred bemused spectators. We were allowed to go watch "Empire" -- Big deal! We'd seen it a dozen times by then! --but we also were cautioned that another similar infraction would find us banned from the multiplex for the foreseeable future. That's a sentence no teenagers could afford to risk.

To this day, I've never seen "Stir Crazy" start to finish. Never learned how many f-bombs were dropped. Never found out who won the prison rodeo. Never found out if "Grossberger" learned to control his deadly flatulence. The pain and humiliation just run too deep.

I don't blame you, Gene. Enjoy your birthday list.

FAVORITE FIVE GENE WILDER MOVIES OF THE 80s:

5. HAUNTED HONEYMOON (1986): "Now if anything frightens you. Anything at all. You just holler."

4. HEAR NO EVIL, SEE NO EVIL (1989): "Today I threatened to shoot a naked woman with my erection."

3. HANKY PANKY (1982):   "This is MY taxi. Now, what do you want?"

2. THE WOMAN IN RED (1984): "I find it hard to imagine your wife sleeping with you."

1. STIR CRAZY (1980): "Yeah, that's right! That's right! We bad!"

[Last modified: Wednesday, June 9, 2010 2:34pm]

    

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